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tv   Wolf  CNN  April 21, 2015 10:00am-11:01am PDT

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. hello, i'm wolf blitzer. it's 1:00 p.m. in washington 7:00 p.m. in berlin 8:00 p.m. inner bill and 9:00 p.m. in tehran. wherever you're watching thanks very much for joining us. we start with a swirl of activity surrounding iran and the united states. right now, two mores u.s. warships joined others off yemen's coast waiting for iranian ships that may be carrying weapons intended for rebel fighters in yemen. this while negotiators resume talks on iran's nuclear program. iran wants immediate cessation of sanctions an idea the united states may be repeat may be closer to accepting. the obama administration is calling iran's judiciary absurd after they leveled espionage charges against an american journalist held there.
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last week the iraqi prime minister was here in washington while asking for more money and weapons to fight isis haider al abadi sided with iran saying the saudi-led coalition in yemen was pushing the region closer to a greater war. but that hasn't stopped the united states from taking a larger role in the arab coalition with nine u.s. warships now settled off the coast of yemen. here with me is our chief national security correspondent jim sciutto. set the stage for what i call compartmentalization. negotiations in vienna over the nuclear deal while at the same time the potential for some sort of confrontation between the u.s. and iranian warships off the coast of yemen. >> well the circumstances are certainly tense and dangerous. but let's say this the principle mission of those u.s. warships now is because of the deterioration of the situation in yemen. it gives the president military options, counterterror options off the deck of an aircraft carrier inside yemen if he would decide to strike.
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in addition they are monitoring the nine iranian ships for the possibility that they go into yemeni territorial waters and they would be theoretically prepared to board them. frankly, i've talked to a lot of defense officials about it this that would be an extraordinary scenario to have a u.s. ship boarding blocking and boarding an iranian ship. there are other options. allied ships in the area the saudis egyptians part of this flotilla watching the iranians and to be frank, there are other options for the president down the line. if this ship -- if those iranian ships are carrying weapons, they're not certain, the satellite photographs show containers not certain they have weapons, but if they are once the weapons go ashore you have other options, opportunities to destroy them interdict them et cetera. what you're seeing is a show of force by the u.s. in a very tense situation. the u.s. has made its position clear on iran arming the houthi rebels but based on the conversations i've having it's unlikely you would have a u.s.
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naval personnel forcibly boarding an iranian ship. >> the argument has been made international legal argument, the u.n. security council passed a resolution saying you can't arm the houthi rebels shiite iran backed houthi rebels. one thing for iranian ships to be transporting arms in international waters but once they get into yemeni sovereign waters territorial waters of yemen, technically there's an international legal authority to suspect those ships. >> absolutely. you'll notice in statements from u.s. officials and others in the region they have mentioned those very u.n. security council resolutions as a kind of public reminder, a marker to the iran appss, one, that we're watching we have our ships there, and two, we consider that u.n. resolution enforceable. making the step where you use the forcible boarding to enforce that is a risky move. it's not a move that u.s. decided to make but you have assets in that region out to monitor. >> a serious situation, tense situation, and not just u.s. warships as you say, saudi warships and there are egyptian
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warships uae warships also in the region the potential is there. >> we don't control what they do. we're allies but we can't tell them not to if they were to make that decision. >> no love between the saudis and iranians. as yemen descends further into chaos the escape route for many has closed. the international organization for migration had been running emergency flights out of yemen's capital but they, too, are considered too dangerous. fred plight ken has more on yemen and what role iran says they are playing there. >> reporter: escalating violence on the ground in yemen. but there may be an even more dangerous confrontation brewing at seap. while the u.s. has sent warships to the area to intercept iranian vessels that might make a run for yemen's waters the commander of iran's navy tells me his forces have no such intentions.
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we don't let anyone gives us warnings or threats he says because we are working according to international law and regulations and we work for the security of our country and other countries. the u.n.s passed a resolution placing an arms embargo on the houthi rebels that have taken control of much of yemen. saudi arabia and the u.s. accuse iran of supplying the houthis with weapons. but iran says its ships are just in the area to fight piracy. we've taebds a presence in that area to protect our oil tankers and other iranian ships and up to today, we've been very successful and in some instances other countries have even askeds us for help. the iranians heavily criticize saudi arabia's air campaign against the houthis, but say they will only provide food and medical assistance. workers loading supplies at this warehouse in tehran slated to go to yemen.
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it's mostly pain relievers. >> pain. >> reporter: the iranian red crescent tells us they've not been able to make any shipments to yemen since late march but officials want to resume deliveries a as fast as possible. iran maintains any aid to yemen is purely humanitarian. this shipment was supposed to go out today but with the fighting going on in yemen it's unclear when or if it will reach its destination. while iran and world powers continue to negotiate towards a final nuclear agreement, in other matters like the yemen conflict tensions between tehran and washington continue to grow. >> let's bring in fred joining us live from tehran in iran right now. fred over the week as you know the ayatollah said this. he said the threat to the region in his words is, quote, america itself with its unrestrained destabilizing interventions and said the other side was, quote
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methodically and samelessly threatening us militarily. is that the tone you've. hearing from military leaders on the ground in iran? >> it certainly has been wolf but also the element of what you were talking about before the compartmentalization. i came here on saturday the day that the iranians here celebrated their national army day parade and during that time you did have a banners going around saying death to america. you had president hassan rowhani giving a speech saying he believed that the iranian military was the stabilizing force, not only for iran itself but for the entire region. they praised what they were doing in iraq. they were senior military leaders here who normally never speak to western media that told me they believe it's their strategy winning in iraq rather than the one that the americans are following. certainly there is an element where they clearly say they believe that america isn't a threat to them. they clearly celebrate their military and its readiness but on the same time this is so
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interesting, they also say they want negotiations especially if you talk to members of the rowhani government. i spoke to the vice president just yesterday and she told me of course they want to me of course they want to deal of course they want to make a deal happ but acknowledged that there were forces here who were more conservative who, of course are more difficult to persuade in such a thing, wolf. >> fred plight ken reporting from tehran with us we'll stay in close touch with you over the next several days thank you. up next more on the rising tensions between the united states and iran as american warships stand guard over yemen's coast. plus at 93 he's one of the few former nazi ss guards still alive. the accountant who kept the books at auschwitz stands trial. horrifying allegations against him, his defense, all that and as lot more coming up. big day? ah, the usual. moved some new cars. hauled a bunch of steel.
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kept the supermarket shelves stocked. made sure everyone got their latest gadgets. what's up for the next shift? ah, nothing much. just keeping the lights on. (laugh) nice. doing the big things that move an economy. see you tomorrow, mac. see you tomorrow, sam. just another day at norfolk southern.
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. time for the next step in the nuclear talks between the united states and iran with the june deadline looming the obama administration may be opening up to the idea of sanctions relief sooner rather than later. something iran has strongly demanded. joining us from new york is mighter, a cnn political ken xhen tater and joining us from wind sore, california via skype, military analyst retired colonel rick francona. the talks are just starting up again, a lot of work to do between now and the end of june when everything is supposed to be finalized written down on paper but there are increasing tensions as you know rising over yemen. the u.s. and iran clearly on different sides in the war that's going on over there. will this latest developments u.s. warships moving in off the coast of yemen iranian warships
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moving into that area will that further complicate the already very complicated and dangerous nuclear talks that are resuming in vienna? >> i think the obama administration has decided to back saudi arabia in large measure ironically in order to help these negotiations because they feel that by reassuring saudi arabia and america's other gulf allies they can keep them on board as these negotiations go forward. i think that's the strategy. the thing is as rick would know better than me when you actually start to deploy all these military assets in the region things can get out of control. i mean there could be some kind of accident. we don't know what could happen. you can have some kind of unpredictable provocation that takes place that does throw a wrench in the negotiations. >> wouldn't be the first time that happened rick. the rules of engagement i guess are pretty clear but you have iranian warships u.s. warships, the battle group "the roosevelt" backed up by other ships the white house said a few moments
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ago the deployment of the aircraft carrier battle group was in the words of josh earnest designed to protect freedom of navigation and commerce in the area but we also know the u.s. is trying to prevent iran from smuggling arms into the houthi rebels in -- that are fighting in yemen. >> yeah. that's right, wolf. there are two u.n. resolutions in play here. one prohibiting the iranians from exporting weapons. the other from anyone providing weapons to the combatants in yemen. so with all of that you've got all these ships in there and now we move the aircraft carrier "teddy roosevelt" into the area. this is a massive show of force. it is to defend and provide freedom of navigation but there's a subtle signal being sent or maybe not so suts toll the iranians we mean to enforce this resolution. as long as the iranian vessels stay in international waters i don't think there's going to be a problem. there's a lot of communications protocols in place for all of this navigation so the danger will be is if the ships actually try to enter yemeni territorial
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waters then the united states has to make a decision do we somehow intervene? >> this carrier battle group "the roosevelt" as you know rick being used until now, to launch air strikes against isis targets in iraq and syria. now that carrier battle group has moved away from iraq moved closer obviously, to yemen. does that weaken the overall mission against isis in iraq and syria? >> no not really because over time we've got more allies involved in the operation and we've also been a able to deploy forward deploy more land-based aviation. what we have is about 80% of the sordes being flown by the u.s. air force so the navy can move that carrier down around the gulf of aden to be where it needs to be if the president needs to use it for some other action. >> peter, as you know iran has now also formally charged an american journalist with espionage. jason rezion has been held there nine months one of a handful of americans being held in iran.
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there are members of the senate demanding -- any nuclear deal with iran if there's going to be a nuclear deal with iran they have to immediately release, free those americans. is that likely to happen given the sense of what's going on? as you know the iranians stand to gain enormously with sanctions relief immediately, a bonanza of about $50 billion in frozen assets that that would be a huge bonanza for their economy. >> this is a really appalling action and reminds you the character of this iranian government that no one should think it's a benign actor and not in the way it treats people at home. there have been a number of iranian-americans in particular who have been imprisoned by this government. it's possible that some point along in these negotiations that the iranians do let this guy out, but i think it's very, very unlikely that you're going to tie the nuclear negotiations to this formally. i'm not even necessarily sure that a lot of human rights
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groups in the united states that focus on democracy and human rights in iran would want to do that as much as they are lobbying to try to get him out. >> why not? tell me why would this be too much to say to the iranians look there's going to be a new chapter in the iranian relationship with the u.s. and a bunch of other countries, why not make this gesture as an act of humanitarian kindness, shall we say? >> we should absolutely be asking more strongly than asking pressing the iranians to do that. i think the question out of congress do you want to formally link the iran deal to say there will be no iran deal unless this is done. i haven't actually seen this guy's family call for that, in fact. so i think it's one thing to use our diplomatic channels absolutely there are a whole series of things that iran does that we have serious problems with including the the way it treats its people on a whole range of efforts. the question is is the best strategy for -- to tie all that to this iranian nuclear deal which is after all based on the
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effort to try to keep iran from getting a nuclear weapon which is important in and of itself. >> today senator kirk of illinois marco rubio of florida, they both demanded as part of any nuclear deal with iran the americans who are being held in iran must be released and released right away. we'll see where this goes. peter and rick thanks very much. the isis threat last week the terror group targeted the u.s. consulate in the heart of the kurdish territory if northern iraq. up next i'll speak live with the kurdish deputy prime minister about the dangers from isis what's going on. we'll get a live report coming up. are you so congested... it feels like that brick's on your face? try zyrtec®-d to powerfully clear your blocked nose and relieve your other allergy symptoms. so you can breathe easier all day. zyrtec®-d. find it at the pharmacy counter.
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. the u.s. state department is investigating a suicide car bombing attack near the u.s. consulate in the kurdish iraqi city of erbil. isis claimed responsibility for last week's attack making it the first time it directly targeted a major u.s. installation. erbil is where some american diplomatic personnelle were moved away from baghdad after isis moved closer to the iraqi capital. it raised serious questions about the threat level from isis inside the kurdish territory. let's go to erbil and bring in qubad talabani the deputy prime minister of the kurdistan regional government joining us live from erbil. qubad, thanks very much for joining us. the attack on the u.s. consulate, i know no americans were killed or seriously injured, but is this a wake-up call that isis is going after the heart of card stan erbil, where you are right now?
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>> thank you, wolf. thank you for having me on your show again. it's well known that in the last few weeks, the kurdish forces have made significant advances in our fight against isis. we've been able to defeat them in numerous battles, but also repel several attempts by isil to take back some territory that we had taken from them. but as you rightly said recently there was this attack in erbil. it was in a usually populated part of the city. very close to the u.s. consulate. it is not clear yet whether the u.s. consulate was the direct target because the vehicle that exploded was parked outside of a cafe that is across the road from the u.s. consulate. >> that's a pretty big consulate, hundreds of americans, diplomats, military personnel, private citizens in erbil, right? do you have any number of how many americans are there?
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>> >> there is a sizable u.s. presence at the consulate in erbil. they have an economic offense,ice, and cultural offices and doing very good work here and we're very pleased to have them there. they're in a relatively, obviously, a very secure facility even though it is erbil and erbil is not prone to the kinds of attacks that you are seeing more frequently in other parts of the country, we were very disappointed that this one got through our very tight security service. i can say that the perpetrator of this attack has been detained by our intelligence services and we are investigating the attack how it happened in order to make sure that we continue to be vigilant. we have to expect as we continue to hit isis and as we continue to defeat isis that they will try to hurt us again
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in our capital and in other parts of kurdistan. >> are you getting weapons, arms, from the united states directly now to your peshmerga fighters or do they still have to go through the central government in baghdad before they reach you? because as you know, a lot of members are congress are upset it takes a long time if ever for some of the weapons to reach your fighters? >> wolf this is still a point of frustration for us in kurdistan. we're fighting this fight, leading this fight against isil. we've been the most it effective force in this fight against isil. we are very grateful for the u.s. support. we're grateful for the u.s. air support in our operations. but we are not getting the weapons and the ammunitions that we need to continue this fight for a sustained period of time. i get a feeling that we're being
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drip it fed weapons to be able to fight battle per battle. it still has to go through some process of clearance from baghdad and there's still a level of complication that in all honesty we've gotten accustomed to. but we're talking about a long-term war against be a very violent group and this is going to require more sustained support and more kind of continued support of heavy weapons, of direct ammunitions. we've proven our effectiveness in being able to use these weapons. we have defeated isis we continue to defeat isis continually, since the start of this conflict in june and july but the situation is not to our liking. we do need more weapons. remember wolf also we're in the midst of a financial crisis in kurdistan. we have a million and a half refugees and idps seeking refuge in kurdistan. this is taxing our own
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government's resources. we're providing health care education, all kinds of services to these idps. baghdad is still not providing us our full entitlement of the federal budget so our brave soldiers currently on the front lines fighting against isil have not been paid two months of their salaries because of the situation that we're in because baghdad hasn't paid us what it should be paying us up until now, and because we have the added burden of fighting a war as well as housing 1.5 million refugees. >> qubad talabani the deputy prime minister of kurdistan, thanks for joining us. good luck. we'll stay in close touch with you. appreciate you joining us. >> there have been arrests in the deadly sinking of a migrant ship off the italian coast. up next live to italy for the investigation. hundreds of people are missing and believed dead in the mediterranean. ♪ building aircraft,
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welcome back to our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer reporting from washington. the captain and a crew member of a ship full of migrants that capsized in the mediterranean sea have been arrested for their role in the disaster. hundreds of people are believed dead. investigators now say the ship may have collide with a merchant ship that had come to help causing the boat to capsize and we're get new video of a rescue of more than 400 migrants by the italian navy, aboard a fishing
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vessel headed for the italian coast. karl penhaul is joining us live from catania in italy right now. what's the latest on the recovery and the investigation? >> the more you look at all this wolf you just see that this is a myigrant crisis escalating with every hour that passes. in terms of the weekend shipwreck as you rightly point out, a syrian and tunisian being accused of captaining that boat and being involved with the smuggling ring they are under investigation by the italian prosecutor and also what the italian prosecutor is looking to do is interview the survivors who were plucked from that ship and to find out a little bit more about exactly how many migrants were on board there, who possibly was behind organizing the people smuggling racket and so that hopefully could help italian authorities to crack down on this in the future. if you look at the panorama
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right now, it is horrendous. two italian navy ships currently making their way to sicily with more than 440 migrants on board, including 100 women and more than 50 children. those have been plucked from six different migrant boats that were adrift in the mediterranean off the coast of libya and then this morning as well another fishing boat was reaching almost the italian mainland that was rescued just off the southeast coast there and more than 3 hinz migrants aboard there. this migrant crisis really escalating wolf. >> i know you had a chance karl to speak with some of the migrants who made it to where you are in kattancatania in italy. what did they say? >> again, a horrendous picture. the ones that i talked to they're the lucky ones. these are the survivors who have been washed up on the shores of this promised land which is europe any life heres is better
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than the life they've been leading at home. i was talking, for example to one syrian man who came from the city of homs in syria. he's been here now ten days. he said he had to leave syria, otherwise he would have been engaged in one or other of the armed militias join isis join one of the rebel groups or die. he said on the way, he has faced horrendous difficulties the last one just before he set sail on that boat to come to italy, he said he had already paid migrant traffickers about $1800, and then another gang an armed militia masked in uniforms with assault rifles came on board and robbed all the migrants on board, pulling off gold earrings gold watches, anything as searching them one by one to take money. and another young man said that as he made his way through libya he saw 20 peel on the bus where he was pulled off and beheaded by isis fighters as well. horrendous stories from the
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survivors. >> we know the isis those isis so-called fighters they're going after christians whether ethiopian, egyptian christians beheading them in libya as well. karl penhaul, thanks for that report. another story happening today, mow mam mid morsi went from prison to become egypt's democratically elected president now going back to prison for 20 years. troubles stems from the 2012 protests outside his presidential palace. he was convicted on charges of inciting violence and torturing protesters. the verdict today is subject to appeal. by the way i interviewed morsi in cairo in 2013 about six months after he became president of egypt. at the time he was very upbeat very confident about egypt's future his own future but he was deposed by a military koop seven months after that interview i had with him in cairo. morsi claims he's still egypt leaders, refuses to recognize
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the court proceedings against him as legal. just ahead, the u.s. deploying warships in response to a possible threat from iran as nuclear negotiations are resuming. the ranking democrat on the house intelligence committee congressman adam schiff is standing by. from panera bread. that noise! panera broth bowls should be slurped with gusto! to explore further order online or visit your neighborhood panera bread. jack's heart attack didn't come with a warning. today, his doctor has him on a bayer aspirin regimen to help reduce the risk of another one. if you've had a heart attack be sure to talk to your doctor before your begin an aspirin regimen. you total your brand new car. nobody's hurt,but there will still be pain. it comes when your insurance company says they'll only pay three-quarters of what it takes to replace it. what are you supposed to do, drive three-quarters of a car? now if you
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[♪] there is an ancient rhythm... [♪] that flows through all things... [♪] through rocky spires... [♪] and ocean's swell... [♪] the endless... stillness of green... [♪] [♪] and in the restless depths of
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human hearts... [♪] the voice of the wild within. [♪] . very tense and complicated relationship between the united states and iran is even more tense, more complicated today. the u.s. has stationed warships off the coast of yemen. the ships along with allied vessels are there to keep iran from supplying weapons to the shiite houthi rebels fighting in yemen. all this is unfolding as talks on a nuclear deal with iran are resuming in vienna. joining us now to help sort through all of this is democratic congressman adam schiff of california the ranking democrat on the house intelligence committee.
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thanks very much for coming in. you got to be concerned, even though there's no great desire there's no desire at all, for a real confrontation between the u.s. and iran off the coast of yemen. it's possible. >> it's certainly possible and who knows what kind of hotheads you might have on some of the iranian ships and whether they may choose this as an opportunity to strike a blow at the great satan. hard to tell. we're here to have the back of our gulf and other allies in the region as well as to try to have a show of us force. there are u.n. resolutions that prohibit iran from arming the houthis nonetheless they have been. >> the iranians deny and say they're only sending in humanitarian aid to the houthis and to others in yemen. they deny they're providing weapons. >> i don't believe it and i think there's credible evidence that they have been providing weapons. that's not the same to say they've been controlling the houthis all along and you can easily i think overstate the
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iranian role in yemen but it certainly is true that they've been providing military advice and military aid. >> the commander of the i iranian navy has been saying the u.s. and saudi arabia are to blame, he's been vociferous in the condemnation of the united states even while they want to deal with the u.s. in vienna on these nuclear negotiations. i call it compartmentalization. is this -- there's something weird here though right? >> lots of different compartments because you're right. we have a compartment where you have the nuclear negotiations compartment a conflict over yemen, compartment, conflict in syria, and another compartment where we have deconflickion in iraq. it's enormously complex. but that's just life in the region. >> two senators marco rubio of florida and mark kirk of illinois they're demanding as part of any nuclear deal no nuclear deal yet, see if there will be by the end of june as part of any nuclear deal the iranians have to release that
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"washington post" reporter jason rezaian and other americans who are held right now in iran. that's got to be a quid pro quo. do you buy that? >> i don't think that's the approach the administration is taking but they are raising the issue of these american hostages i think at every opportunity when they're interacting with the iranians. it is very much a priority for the administration at the same time i'm not sure that they want these to be a bargaining chip for tehran to drive a tougher nuclear negotiation and hold these as hostages to the nuclear talks. so it's a difficult situation, but certainly we're trying to do everything we can to get them freed. >> as i've been saying they stand to gain billions and billions of dollars immediately with frozen assets that are going to -- about to be lifted. why not say to them you know what, you're going to get a lot of money, release these americans, that's the least you can do? >> i think the administration is certainly raising this urging them to do so. >> they say they're not linking it to the nuclear negotiations
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just as they say they're not demanding iran accept israel's right to exist as part of the nuclear negotiations they say that the nuclear negotiations are simply focused on the nuclear negotiations other political issues not part of the deal? >> i think that's true and i think they're trying to maintain the solidity of the nuclear negotiations and not have it disrupted by bringing in other issues in the region as vital as they are, and also while they want to continue raising these hostage issues they don't want it to be a chip the iranians can play and i think the harder we press them in some respects the harder the pushback and more the iranians think this is really valuable these hostages are valuable we should keep them because we can exact more from the americans. >> you've heard the argument the criticism of the obama administration is that they seem to want to deal more than the iranians want to deal. do you accept that? >> i don't accept that. i do understand that criticism and i understands the concern that some have that the administration trying too hard or need this too much as a legacy. the reality is, the iranians are
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deeply hurt economically. i think their whole regime is about perpetuation of the regime and to the degree the economy becomes a liability and threatens them it drives them to the table that's why they're at the table. but i don't think it's true that we want it or need it more than they do. >> congressman schiff thanks for coming in. >> thanks wolf. >> adam schiff on the committee of intelligence. >> a 93-year-old former ss guard standing trial accused of being an accomplish of mass murder at the auschwitz death camp. what he has to say about his role that's coming up.
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. what may be one of the last big holocaust trials opened in germany. oskar groening called the bookkeeper of auschwitz entered the courtroom using a walker. at 93 groening is one of the few suspected nazi war criminals still living. the former living member of hitler's ss says he shares in the moral guilt of the mass kilts but is a bookkeeper and never killed anyone. his job was to collect the belongings of the prisoners, their valuables and money. 86-year-old lives in new york city she was a teenager when she entered auschwitz. she's a plaintiff in this case. while she survived her parents did not. >> believe it or not, by this time it means very little
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personally. i don't feel vengeance. i don't want to see him go to jail. it's too late for it. he's too old. i do believe that the important part is for the law to be established and for the change to be made for the future generations. >> let's bring in our senior legal analyst jeffrey toobin. he's charged with accessory to 300,000 murders at auschwitz as the cam's bookkeeper is there a precedence for convicting him in a war crimes trial of this nature? >> this is an interesting story because the nature of the legal proceedings against those who were involved in the holocaust has changed since world war ii. in the original prosecutions and the nuremburg trials and elsewhere, the theory was, the only people who could be prosecuted are those who actually gave the orders or
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carried them out. in later years, as the number of prosecutions has declined there have been a small handful of cases like this one where it's based on a more general sense of responsibility a bookkeeper can be a bookkeeper can be prosecuted as in this case for participating in the activities of a concentration camp even if he never gave any orders or killed anyone personally. that's when this case is about. >> why did they decide to do it now, 70 years after the war? >> well, mr. groening basically called attention to himself. he wrote articles he spoke out. he acknowledged his involvement in many ways. he was trying to prove to doubters of the holocaust that it really did take place. but the magnitude of what he disclosed was so awful that the german authorities decided he is essentially admitting to a crime, and there were still
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victims' groups pressing for this they were saying, listen this has to be prosecuted because the crime was simply so awful. >> it's going to generate sympathy. 93 years old, walks in with a cane. obvious with a walker. he's obviously pretty old pretty frail. that's the downside of having a full-blown trial of this nature right now. >> it is, although as the woman who was on the piece suggested, it's not really about any sort of punishment that's going to be meted out to mr. groening. it's about establishing under international law that it's not a defense that you were simply a bookkeeper. that if you participate, if you help make possible the deaths of so many people, you are criminally responsible, as well. that precedent i think is important regardless of what happens to mr. groening himself. >> it may be an excellent educational opportunity for a
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lot of people to remember what happened 70 years ago. all right, jeffrey. thanks very very much. ahead, new poll numbers on the obama presidency. we'll tell you whether his approval rating is heading in a positive or negative direction. gloria borger standing by.
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breaking news out of washington. the administrator of the drug
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enforcement administration will soon step down. that according to u.s. officials familiar with the situation. michelle lenart rose through the ranks to become the first female in charge of a dea field office and became head of the agency during the bush administration. she recently came under fire for. it at a congressional hearing. the hearing was about dea agents having sex parties with prostitutes paid for by drug cartels. after 165 days and counting, the senate is closer than ever to a vote on the nomination of loretta lynch as attorney general of the united states. lynch's nomination got tangled one an anti-abortion provision in a separate bill to combat human trafficking. as a result lynch has been waiting longer than any other attorney general nominee to be confirmed. our chief political analyst, gloria borger is joining us. the senate majority leader mitch mcconnell, says a confirmation vote is expected the next day or two. this is a significant development now. >> it's a very significant development. as you say, she's waited as long
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as any nominee to be attorney general. it's about five months, wolf. kind of unheard of. she would be if confirmed the first african-american woman attorney general. she's replacing eric holder who by the way, wolf republicans did not like. they had nothing but disdain for holder. here they are holding up lynch whom some republicans will vote for. i mean you can't count these votes until you count these votes, but there are some estimates that she does actually have 51 votes at this point which means a handful of republicans and would get confirmed. >> looks like she'll get confirmed. we'll see what happens. let's talk about the new cnn/orc poll numbers. president obama's approval rating has gone up. 48% approve, 47% disapprove. the first time since 2013 more americans have had a slightly member positive impression of his performance than negative
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impression. that's significant. >> it is significant for him. not because the numbers have shifted so dramatically. they haven't. if t's just a shift in perception when you're not under water anymore. what's going on are a couple of things. first of all generally are feeling more optimistic about the economy. when they're feeling more optimistic about the economy, they feel better toward the president of the united states. also the president had lost a lot of support on his liberal base. he seems to be -- seems to be gaining that back. and that is reflected in the approval/disapproval numbers. >> we asked a separate question how are economic conditions in the united states. today, 52% said they were good. 48% said they were poor. more americans think they're good than poor. >> right. well and that's -- that's very good news for the president. as i was saying that will make the president more popular. also 42% say they're going to be better off financially than a year from now. that's people feeling more
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optimistic about their future. i think that can only be good news for the president. >> it can only be good news potentially for hillary clinton, as well, if she's the democratic presidential nominee. >> right. >> and if that right track/wrong track number, questions we ask more americans think the country is moving in the right direction economically than in the wrong direction. she could benefit from that. >> she will. 60% of the people say the economy will be in good shape a year from now. hillary clinton will be run willing for president. republicans, as you know are describing hillary clinton as the third term of an obama presidency. therefore, if people are feeling better about themselves or economic conditions they vote their pocketbooks, they're going to look more kindly toward hillary clinton. the big question wolf, that has to be answered in this election debate is the question about the haves and the have nots. and we ask that also in our poll.
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61% of the nation says that the economy is divided between the haves and have nots and that needs to be discussed in a presidential race and it will be. >> we'll have more on the story coming up in "the situation room "kwlart, 5:00 p.m. -- "the situation room" at 5:00 p.m. later. "newsroom with brooke baldwin" starts right now. wolf blitzer, thank you very much. great to be with you on this tuesday. i'm brooke baldwin. are you watching cnn. right now, a confrontation could be taking shape between the united states and iran. this is happening off the coast of yemen where at least nine nine u.s. war ships are positioned along with naval vessels from key u.s. allies. and they're expected to be within eyesight of iranian ships in the coming hours. the u.s. allied coalition is mobilizing because they want to block those iranian ships from delivering arms delivering weapons to those rebel fighter